I planned right out of college to retire at age 45. I later refined that estimate to age 40. At my most aggressive estimate, I saw myself retiring at 36.
Things changed when my baby girl came into the world.
I’ll start by saying that I never planned on being a stay at home mom. A retiree at age 36, why not? But I never imagined I’d be somebody who gave up her income before reaching financial independence.
But there I was – 27. I held my first daughter in my arms, my own flesh and blood in one tiny little package.
36 was still 9 years away.
My daughter would be nine before her daddy and I could be at home with her full time. So many precious years we would miss out on while waking up extra early to take her to daycare, getting home extra late after picking her up. Two hours to get homework done and food on the table before going to bed to wake up early again. In the meantime she’d be raised by people we didn’t personally know.
So we discussed alternatives.
James, as it happens, was the one to bring up how life might be a whole lot nicer for all of us if Baby T had a parent at home with her. I couldn’t have made this decision without his full buy in.
We talked about all the possibilities – he could stay home, or I could. We could both try to go part time. We could suck it up and just put her in daycare, and at least see how it goes for a few months. But in the end, we chose our favorite solution. And I am now a full-time Stay-at-Home-Mom.
How did the finances work out?
If you’re not convinced that you can retire before 50 yet, this ought to convince you.
In order to accommodate the 50% reduction in household income, we reduced our annual spending allowance by $10k and tacked on an extra 5 years to “our” work span (now technically James’ work span).
We were able to go into this decision with a lot of confidence and without rocking our financial boat too much. That’s the peace of mind you get from knowing your Money Mass Balance, having no debt, and aggressively building your nest egg before thirty.
(There were a few hidden costs associated with me leaving my job, which sucked and which I’ll go into in a future article.)
Readers: Do you have kids? What is your work/home situation?